Shipping Different Types of Vehicles Explained

Shipping different types of vehicles

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Do you ever wonder how a vehicle is transported, maybe from the manufacturer to the car dealer? Or how does your car get delivered to you after ordering online? It gets more interesting when you wonder how large cars like RVs and trucks are transported. How are these vehicles shipped?

You might have been chanced to see a large trailer with four to six cars hauled on its back. That is an auto-transport company transporting vehicles via the open transport method. This will be explained better in this article

in this article, we’ll initially explain the different vehicle shipping methods available, then go into details about how different vehicles are being shipped.

Table of Contents

Methods of Shipping Different Types of Vehicles

There are different shipping methods you can use to get your vehicle shipping job done. However, for some vehicles like your luxury car, some shipping methods are preferred over others. 

The following are the main shipping methods:

1. Enclosed Car Shipping

As the name implies, the enclosed car shipping method involves transporting your vehicle in an enclosed cargo. This shipping method is known for the extra protection layer your vehicle gets from various transport hazards. 

In most cases, the cargo trailer used can only ship three to four cars at once. This makes the transport cost more expensive than other vehicle transport methods. 

However, enclosed vehicle transport is a great choice if you need to ship expensive luxury and classic cars. This layer of protection provided by the enclosed trailer ensures better protection for your expensive ride. Your classic vehicle is protected from all outdoor elements, sudden weather changes, and road hazards while it’s being transported.

How Much Do You Need to Ship Your Vehicle Via Enclosed Car Shipping?

Using the enclosed car shipping method is a pretty expensive option. The cost ranges from $1000-$3000 or more. The price isn’t fixed because it is dependent on a couple of factors. Some of these factors are:

  • The number of vehicles to be shipped
  • The total shipping distance to your desired delivery location
  • Your vehicle details, that is the model and year.

As a regular individual or as a car dealer, you need to find out the summative cost to transport your vehicle(s). The best-suggested way is to get a quote via your desired shipping company. 

Most companies offer free instant quote calculators, which you can use. All you have to do is provide your shipment details, and you’ll receive the total estimated cost. Since you are not obligated to book any company yet, you can do enough research to get the best services for a reasonable cost.

Read “How Much Does Enclosed Auto Transport Cost? + Pros and Cons” to learn more.

Pros and Cons of Enclosed Car Shipping

If you’d be using the enclosed car shipping option, you must have a surface understanding of the pros and cons involved with this transport method. This will guide you to make the best decision.

  • Enclosed car shipping offers maximum protection for your vehicle
  • It is the recommended transport option to ship luxury and classic cars.
  • It is more expensive than other transport methods.
  • Delivery often takes a long time unless you are a car dealer paying for a whole trailer at once.

2. Open Car Shipping

Shipping of different kinds of vehicles

Unlike the enclosed car shipping option, the open car transport option is more affordable. It is a vehicle transport method that utilizes a vehicle trailer to haul cars from one state to another or across the country.

As the name implies, vehicles are loaded and transported on an open trailer. This subjects your vehicle to transport damages, air elements, and sudden weather changes. However, this shouldn’t get you worried. This method is relatively safe, and the damage risk involved is minor.

The open-car shipping option is the most popular vehicle shipping option. This is because it is relatively affordable and economical for everyone, both individuals and car dealers.

How Much Do You Need To Ship Your Vehicle Via Open Car Shipping?

Shipping your vehicle via open transport is relatively affordable. The transport cost ranges from $500-$2000. This cost varies between different auto-transport companies. In addition, the cost depends on your delivery method, location, number, and type of vehicles being transported.

The transport cost also varies from one shipping company to another. So it is advisable to request shipping quotes from different companies. There are a few things you need to look out for when choosing a transport company. 

Pros and Cons of Open Car Shipping

Open car shipping, aside from being a popular transport option, has a couple of other pros and cons that come with its usage. If you choose this option, you must be aware of these pros and cons. They are as follows:

  • The initial advantage of using this transport method is its affordability. It is more economical. 

This is because of the competition that exists between the open transport companies. So, they need to offer cheaper quotes with the best delivery service to get customers.

  • It can transport seven to eight cars at once.
  • Delivery is fast. This is a consequence of the economical price because cargo gets filled within a relatively shorter period. So, as an individual or car dealer, your vehicle gets transported to your desired destination within a short time
  • Your vehicle is subject to all dust, air elements, and weather changes during transportation.
  • Your vehicle is at risk of any potential cosmetic damage.

However, that shouldn’t discourage you from this option because auto transport companies also do their best to keep any vehicle they transport safe for their business reputation.

  • Some open transport companies do not offer door-to-door delivery services. Instead, your vehicle is delivered to the closest terminal to your destination. And picking up your car from the terminal can be inconvenient.

Differences Between Open and Enclosed Car Shipping Methods

Open Car Transport Enclosed Car Transport
It is affordable It is more expensive
Exposes your car to air elements and weather changes. Your car is protected and covered against transport hazards
About 7-8cars can be transported at once  Can only transport 3-4cars at once
Delivery is relatively faster Delivery is relatively slower
It is recommended for regular and commercial vehicles It is recommended for luxury and classic vehicles
There are a lot of carrier options  Limited range of carrier options

3. Car Shipping by Train

Although the more popular options are the various auto shipping companies, do you know you can also ship your vehicle by Train? Vehicle shipping by rail was initially only used to transport cars across the country. But now, there are more applications for the train vehicle shipping method.

The train shipping option is the most cost-effective method to get your vehicle transported. However, you’ll need to pick your car up from the train station after it has been delivered. This can be a bit stressful if you are a car dealer. And it is not recommended for quick deliveries. Train shipping can take two or more weeks for your cars to be delivered.

How Much Do You Need to Ship Your Vehicle via Train?

The train shipping option is the cheapest. It costs about $0.78 per mile for every 1000 miles or more. This option is more affordable because they often require and ship multiple cars at once. And the amount of fuel used to deliver vehicles to the nearest station to the client’s delivery is lesser. Distance is the primary factor that can affect the cost of using the train option.

In addition, like car shipping companies, there are open and enclosed transport options as well. The enclosed transport option is also more expensive and has similar attributes to enclosed car shipping. 

Most train auto shipping companies offer terminal-to-terminal delivery. However, if you are a car dealer or an individual and you desire door-to-door delivery. Going for the car shipping companies would have been a better alternative. But this is achievable by the train shipping option as well.

All you have to do is, get to a car shipping company and take a quote so your car(s) would be picked up from the train station and then delivered to your specified location.

Shipping Different Types of Vehicles

Transporting different types of vehicles

1. Shipping a Regular Vehicle

While luxury cars are unique and special, regular cars also have their own values. The Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro is not a sports car, but it definitely has some class to it. All regular vehicles also require attention when shipping.

How to Ship a Regular Vehicle?

The easiest way to ship a car is to arrange your vehicle shipment details with an auto broker. Why should you do this? This is because auto brokers work with an extensive network of drivers and shipping companies. And they can help you get the cheapest shipping company to handle your shipping.

These are the processes involved in shipping your car through a broker:

1.   You’ll need to submit your vehicle shipment information. This is because the broker would need all this information to get a quote that matches your vehicle’s description successfully. The following information is usually required:

  • The vehicle makes, model, and year.
  • Pick up location
  • Drop-off destination
  • Delivery date
  • Desired type of transport service (open or enclosed carrier)
  • Operating status of a vehicle

2.   The auto broker gets you different quotes, then you compare and decide on a company and verify your shipping information. Here, you may be required to make a partial initial deposit to confirm your shipping request.

3.   Preparing your vehicle: Another thing you have to do to get your car ready for shipping is to get it prepared. How do you do this? You need to get rid of all personal items in your car.

4.   Drop off your car at the pick-up location agreed with the shipping company. The shipping company might send in a driver to pick up your vehicle if you opt for this option.

What is the Best Option For Shipping a Car?

The best option for shipping a regular car is the open transport carrier. Open transport is the most popular and affordable of all other shipping options. 

As a private car owner or car dealer, you can easily get quotes that will ensure the fast delivery of your car at the best price.

The interesting thing is that your options are not limited if you use open transport. There are a lot of shipping companies offering open transport carrier services. You compare your quotes and choose the company that matches your requirements.

What is the Cost For Shipping a Car?

Most shipping companies will charge around $0.4-$2.00 per mile, and this may give you a total cost average of  $700-$2000. 

However, the cost of car shipping is not fixed and depends on several factors. They are

  • Size of your vehicle: The larger and heavier your car is, the higher your shipping cost.
  • Distance: The longer your shipping distance, the higher your cost as well.
  • Delivery Type: The type of delivery option you choose also affects your total cost. Door-to-Door Delivery service will cost you more than terminal-to-terminal delivery
  • Delivery Location: Shipping your car from the city or urban areas to rural areas often costs more than shipping from one City to another.

2. Shipping a Luxury Vehicle

Luxury vehicles are super expensive for the design, quality, and comfort they offer. 

The beauty of a luxury car is that it is in its best state. A Porsche is classy, but all that class can be lost when it is all beaten up. So, out of all other vehicles, luxury vehicles require extra attention when shipping. 

How to Ship a Luxury Vehicle?

As a luxury car owner, the first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you want to drive your car personally to the shipping company or hire an experienced driver to get this done. But before you decide on this, you should consider the distance and the condition of your vehicle. 

In this case, most luxury vehicle owners would rather pay the extra cost of booking a luxury auto service to get this done to avoid wear and tear as a result of long-distance driving.

What is the Best Shipping Option For Luxury Vehicles?

As mentioned above, the best shipping option for your luxury car is the enclosed transport method. This method guarantees protection for your vehicle. Your car isn’t subject to bad weather conditions or road debris. 

This method ensures that your vehicle is delivered in one piece. Even though it is on the expensive end, it is a worthy price to pay to maintain your luxury vehicle’s value.

What is the Cost of  Shipping a Luxury Car?

Generally, using the enclosed auto transport options is expensive. The price varies based on some factors, like the shipping distance, the make, and model of your car, and your vehicle’s condition. Shipping a luxury car could cost around $1000 to $3000 based on the factors above.

3. Shipping an RV

Shipping various kind of vehicles

The idea of shipping an RV always raises an eyebrow, but there are times it becomes inevitable. For instance, if you made a purchase of a new RV and you need it delivered to your location, then it undoubtedly needs to be shipped. So, how do you ship an RV?

How to Ship an RV?

Shipping an RV is slightly different, and it is recommended you contact professional RV haulers who also specialize in RV transport. RVs are shipped via the following ways:

Flatbed Services

This method involves the use of larger trucks and flatbed trailers to transport your RV. Your RV is driven on-ramps onto the flatbed trailers. Multiple Rvs or camper trucks can be hauled through this method.

Read “Flatbed Auto Transport Carriers: Everything You Need To Know” to learn more.

Tow-away Option

 In order to use the tow-away option, special equipment, and trucks are needed. This equipment will be used to load and transport your RV to your desired destination safely. The size of your RV determines the size of the equipment used to haul your RV.

Drive-away Option

This method involves contacting a Professional RV transportation company. An experienced dispatch rider will drive and get your RV transported to its destination.

Preparing Your RV for Shipping

Before handing over your RV to your preferred RV transport company, there are a few things you must check in preparation for the transportation. It is necessary to put these things in place to ensure that your RV is safe, as well as its contents.

Here is a list of things you have to check out:

  • Disconnect all power and gas lines
  • Remove any item you’ve hung on the wall.
  • Switch off all electrical appliances and other electronics
  • Make sure you secure locks and latches on all doors and cabinets
  • Remove all personal items
  • Check all indicator lights. These include parking, brake, and trafficator lights.
  • Inspect or remove the battery
  • Check tire pressure and note cracks and tread wear
  • Make sure to check fluid levels as well
  • Lock all cabinets, windows, and cargo doors.

These are the most important things you should check out when preparing for your RV transport. However, if you are unsure, you can ask your transport company to double-check for you.

What is the Cost of Shipping an RV?

On average, the cost per mile to ship an RV for a distance of lesser than 100 miles is $3.32. But for a shipping distance of less than 1000 miles, the average cost is about $1.05 per mile.

However, these prices are not rigid. You may end up paying more or less based on variable factors like demand, seasonality, gas prices, and the condition of your vehicle.

4. Shipping a Truck

Now, there are large trucks like gas tankers and utility trucks like fire department trucks. How are these large vehicles transported?

How to Ship A Truck

There is only one way to ship a truck by land, and this is through hauling the truck on larger flatbed trailers attached to a cab. 

If you want to ship a truck, it is highly recommended to contact professional truck shipping companies. Shipping trucks are different from regular vehicle shipping, and things could go wrong in the hands of an inexperienced company.

What is the Cost of Shipping a Truck

It costs about $800-$2000 to ship a truck through the flatbed trailer method. This cost depends on the shipping company and the total shipping distance.

Related article “Is Shipping a Truck Different Than Shipping a Car?

Choosing the Best Shipping Company to Transport Your Vehicle

Transporting different kind of cars

The safety of your vehicle while shipping to your desired destination is important. However, this depends majorly on the competency of the shipping company you are using. So, how can you choose the best vehicle shipping company? The following are the important criteria to look out for:

The Reputation of a Shipping Company

The reputation of a shipping company is one of the best ways to know if the shipping company is what you need. It means using the judgment of others. 

If a company has completed several deliveries safely with positive feedback from its clients, this is a sign it can be trusted. A company with a good delivery reputation would most likely get your vehicle delivered without a hitch.

Consider the Insurance Policy of the Shipping Company

It Is important to consider the insurance policy of the shipping company before booking a quote with them. Vehicle insurance is a guarantee that in case of any mishap during transportation, the company bears responsibility. It ensures that you get your vehicle back in one piece.

Compare Different Shipping Companies Prices

If you are shipping a luxury car, you need to compare the prices of different shipping companies before booking a quote. Use the first two criteria mentioned above to narrow down your options. Then choose the company with the least quote price.


There are different reasons why you might need to ship your vehicle. While enclosed transport is the best for luxury and classic cars, the flatbed trailer would get the job done for RVs and trucks.

Let Us Take Care of Your Auto Transport Needs

Mercury Auto Transport is an auto transport broker that presents offers from FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration) licensed and insured carriers. We have access to a wide range of car transporters through National Dispatch Boards, and together with you, we can often strategize and negotiate far better rates.

Get in touch with Mercury Auto Transport to receive your personalized quote or speak with one of our professional auto transport representatives and experience seamless and reliable auto transport services.


Get a quote.

Transport Vehicle FROM
Transport Vehicle TO
Vehicle Year
Vehicle Make
Vehicle Make
Vehicle Model
Vehicle Model
Vehicle Type
Full Name
Phone Number
Email Address
Available Date
Additional Information

We will never share or sell your information with any affiliated marketing or 3rd party. We value your privacy. Please see our Privacy Policy to learn more.

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